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About woodinvillejohn

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  1. Fog machine relay

    Thank you for all of the information. Knowing which relay to buy was the big challenge. I just ordered 2 of these relays and will see if I can get everything working. With the info you provided it looks easy. For anyone else reading this post you do have to enter AC relay in the search box at frightprops to find this relay.
  2. Fog machine relay

    I have been trying to find a source for a fog machine relay that I can use to control my fog machines off an LOR channel. Creativelightingdisplays.com seems to have shut down. Does anyone know of another source? I am willing to try assembling my own relay as others have done. I know everyone says it takes about $20 worth of parts. I've seen some of whats online, But simply telling me to buy a relay and make my own is too general. I have no experience doing this and am afraid I need detailed instructions on how to hook everything up and what type and model of relay I need to buy. Does anyone have any information like this? From the forums, it looks like I am not the only one looking for this information. Thanks for any information you can send my way.
  3. GFCI tripping issue

    Let me weigh in on this. I'm out in rainy Seattle and finally got my show to stop tripping. First I don't think this has anything to do with your controller. Some of the other responses were right on when they said it is from current leakage. A GFCI trips when there is a difference of 5ma between the current going out and coming back. I successfully run my show with GFCI's even when there is standing water. But it took a long time to get this right. First, you have GFCI breakers and not outlets. Long runs of wire have both conductance and resistance. In a nut shell this means that you can bleed very small amounts of power through long runs of wire. Shorten your wire runs as much as possible. It is better to use a GFCI outlet rather than a breaker because is closer to the light strings. Next you need to break up your show into smaller parts off each GFCI. The way to do this is to add GFCI outlets. You can have multiple GFCI outlets on each circuit. The way to make this work is to have the circuit supply each GFCI using the LINE feed. You do not want to use the LOAD terminals to feed the GFCI's downstream or the first GFCI will pick up the faults on all of the rest. If you are not comfortable wiring, find someone who is to help you. LOR controllers are split in two. Channels 1-8 can run off 1 GFCI and channels 9-16 can be plugged into another GFCI. Right away you have cut the load on each GFCI in half. Try to keep extension cord runs short when possible. I find that I do well to keep under 20 strings of lights on a single GFCI. The above addresses very small leakage through long runs of lights and wire. These leaks are accumulative and add up. Using the multiple GFCI's gets you around this. I have 6 GFCI's on one of my circuits just to break everything up. and insure any leakage stays under 5 ma. The next issue to address is if you have a serious fault that is above 5ma by itself. Wire frames and mini trees on tomato cages are prime suspects, as is your mega tree. Any short on these metal objects goes straight to ground and will trip the GFCI. To narrow it down try disconnecting 1/2 of your show and see if it still trips. If so disconnect more until it stays on. Then add 1 circuit back in at a time until it trips. If you can find the one circuit that trips you can start looking at everything on that circuit. I suspect you have all of the above going on. Break up your show into multiple GFCI's and I bet these problems go away. John
  4. What files do I need to transfer to new computer?

    Tim, What is going on with your MP3 director unit? I'm currently working out some issues with mine. First they don't like SanDisk SD cards. LOR recommends Kingston cards. It doesn't seem to like any SD cards even ones I have used in the past. I don't think that the card is my issue anymore. I am thinking I may have a bad cat 5 cable powering the unit. The screen on the G3 MP3 director has an error message that looks like TRI9. This has stumped the help desk. I sent in a photo of the actual message to see if they could decipher it for me. I'm waiting a response. John
  5. I run my show off an SD card in a G3-MP3 Director unit. After about 1 hour the show will start having glitches. A sequence will start and then quickly shut down and jump to another sequence. If I ignore this the show will shut down completely. I'm running 6 CTB16PC controllers and a CMB24D DMX controller. Rebooting the Director unit solves these issues in the short term, but after another 3 or 4 cycles through the show it will glitch again, requiring a reboot. The frequency of the glitches seems to increase the longer i run the show. I'm running 5 songs with 15 short sound bites between them so it's not a huge amount of data. Does anyone have any similar experiences with this, and if so what was the solution? Thanks
  6. GFCI trips

    Thanks for all of the tips. I'm only using newer LED's in the display and the critters have not been an issue. I'll have to give the child outlet cover caps a try. When I do set up next year I'll be extra cautious with all of my connections. Sounds like trying the non-electric contact grease might also help. I'll focus on minimizing any connections or sockets that could go to ground. Two years ago my trips were minimal, but this last year was bad. I attributed this to the heavy rain, but maybe I just got sloppy and let some connections stay too close to the ground. If anyone else has any ideas for minimizing GFCI trips i would love to hear more.
  7. GFCI trips

    Thanks for all of the feedback. When I said breaker I meant the GFCI outlet, not a house circuit breaker. I have 2 GFCI's that are feeding most of my show with 10 controllers on them. One is a brand new GFCI so I don't think it has gotten weak yet. It is the first plug in line and feeds 2 other recepticals on the load side of the GFCI. Everything runs fine even while damp, it is only when the rain starts dumping that I get the trips. The controller that seems to have the most problems is running a mega tree. I do have a metal pole but it runs into a pvc sleeve in the ground. The bottom ring is also PVC, so I think I have the pole isolated from ground. The other controller that has issues is running a section of lights that lay on top of some 6" rocks on the ground. I would think this is where I would most likely have a stray ground. If I'm following what most are saying, adding more GFCI's will not reduce the number of trips, but will isolate them to a smaller section of the show. Although Ken says he has had no trips with multiple GFCI's. IS it possible that some faults are too small to trigger the GFCI? If so Ken's system seems to have merit. If even a tiny fault will trigger the GFCI then I would agree that multiple GFCI's only help to isolate the issue and the oly solution is eliminating the faults. This is where my confusion comes in. Some of you swear by multiple GFCI's and others do not, all with good results. Do all GFCI's trigger at 5ma, or do some have a higher threshold? Do you guys want to weigh in further? Finally, I never tape connections and try whenever possible to elevate any connections off the ground. What is really making it tough is that a lot of these faults appear to be somewhat random. Every time I think i've isolated things to a single controller or a single channel, it runs for a while and then trips again.
  8. GFCI trips

    I should add that in my efforts to isolate the problem, I've tried unplugging different channels to see how it affects the trips. Everytime I think I have it isolated a new fault seems to occur. This is leading me to believe that some of these trips are caused by "randomly" occurring, single time faults, rather than the same fault occurring over and over. I'm starting to see a big advantage in having a show in California or Florida.
  9. GFCI trips

    I'm looking for some expert electrical advice here. I've read about the topic of GFCI trips in the forums and have gotten opposing view points from people whose opinions I respect. I'm having trouble with GFCI's tripping in the rain. This is Seattle and we can get rain every day in December. I think I'm getting a lot of little faults to ground that add up and trip the GFCI. I've been able to isolate it to channels with lots of light strands on them. I know about trying to isolate the strings, by keeping them off the ground, and being leery of metal frames, but sometimes you just need to have lights on the ground for the effect you are looking for. Below is what I'm getting for feedback. One viewpoint is to increase the number of GFCI's and put each controller on it's own GFCI or even 2 GFCI's (one per side). The thought is that having each controller on it's own GFCI helps to prevent lots of small ground faults from adding up into a larger ground fault that is big enough to trip the GFCI. At a very minimum, if i had a GFCI trip using this system it would minimize how much of my show went out. The other school of thought says this will just increase the number of trips, that a GFCI only requires 5ma to trip and no ground fault is too small to avoid tripping the breaker. They say i should minimize the number of GFCI's and focus on connections being kept dry. This brings up even more questions. Are the ground faults only occurring at the plug connections, or could they be occurring at each light socket as well? I do try to keep the plugs and sockets as dry as possible, elevating them when i can. What do any of you electrical engineers have to say about this? Should I go with the idea that more GFCI's I have, the less likely small faults will accumulate and trip the GFCI? Or do I minimize the GFCI's and try and keep all my lights away from any possible path to ground?
  10. Triac issues (lots of them)

    In my troubleshooting i discovered that a factory made extension cord had it's wires crossed giving me reversed polarity on that controller. I replaced the cord with a properly wired extension cord and everything cleared up.
  11. Faint glow from LED lights when off

    Finally tracked down the problem with my lights staying dimmly on. It was a factory made extension cord with the molded ends. The wires inside were reversed. Got rid of the bad cord and everything started working normally. It's imortant to check polarity on all cords even the factory made ones. I suspect this was contributing to my GFCI pops.
  12. Triac issues (lots of them)

    I'm fairly new at understanding all of these issues, but seem to have the same failure issues as others here. My controller that has problems is a gen 2 unit. I have a couple of channels that stick on occasionally but reset when the next song begins. My biggest puzzle is I have about 40 strings of lights that run along the large rocks on the edge of my ditch. When my show is off, these lights continue to glow dimly. This is the first year this has happened. I also had a GFCI that was tripping to this controller, so maybe i do have a path to ground, but that would not explain why these lights are staying on when the power to the show (not the controller)is off. LOR suggested I try plugging a incandescent bulb in to drain the load. This seemed to work only for certain strings. With the show off I plugged in a string to see if it would drain the excess voltage off. It did but then came right back on when I unplugged the incandescent string. Now to my limited understanding this seems to indicate that a low level of power is being feed through the triac into the strings of lights. I tried plugging the incandescents into a tri-tap where the power leg exited the controller, but it was not effective. The incandescents never lit up, so the power involved is very low. I don't want to have to put a snubber on every single string. Has anyone else found an effective way to deal with this? If this is a triac issue, how difficult is replacing a triac for a non-electronic guy like me?
  13. Using External Timer

    Thanks for all of the informative answers to my questions. I'm slowly getting this figured out.
  14. Using External Timer

    Surfing4Dough mentions installing an external power supply for the mini director. My question is how is this different from simply putting the controller powering the mini director on a timer? I'm probably missing something in the details. Last year as I recall the lights hooked up to the other controller all stayed lit after the controller powering the mini director was turned off. I'm trying to figure out how to get everything to go dark once the timer turns the mini director and it's powering controller off. My controllers have power feeds on separate circuits. I'm just now finishing getting everything hooked up, so will be dealing with this tomorrow. Thanks for any ideas.
  15. mDC-MP3

    I received a great reply from the help desk that I wanted to share about this topic. Unfortunately it won't allow me to paste here. I had a couple of different problems going on. First I added more controllers than my software was licensed for. Second, the music files were not compatable with LOR. I decided to upgrade my license, and hoped that the higher version would automatically convert the music files. In the end I still ended up having to convert the music files using audio convert recommended by LOR. http://audio.online-convert.comconvert-to-mp3. This program will convert the higher bit rate used in the songs to 192kbps. Make sure the normalize box is checked. Don't change anything else. I'm very impressed with LOR's customer service. They gave me a lot of details, and walked me through the steps since I'm not the sharpest computer guy.